Top 10 things to consider when planning your wedding

(Image via Jeremy Boyer)

So - the question has been popped, you've told your friends and family, you've drunk some celebratory champagne.

Now it's time to start on the wedding planning

Don't get overwhelmed by the enormity of whole thing: do the brainstorming over a couple of weeks, and then add the layers of details over the following months.

For your first session have something to eat (but avoid alcohol), switch your phones to silent, grab a pad and a pen and take a deep relaxed breath.

Before you get into deep detail, there are a few basic questions that will need answering. Here's our list to consider.

Grab your besties. This is gonna be a good one. #NewCollection #Spring2017

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Top 10 wedding planning thoughts

  1. Who is paying for the wedding? The two of you, your parents, the rest of your family or a mix of all three? Would your parents be upset if you didn't expect them to contribute, or mightily relieved? Are your family in a position to help fund your wedding or is that a bit cheeky? And don't forget, there will always be little extra expenditure items along the way that you won't have bargained for!
  2. Is there a ballpark budget? Will you consider a Wedding Planner or DIY? Brides Magazine carried out a survey in 2015 and found out that their readers spent an average of over £30,000 on their weddings...
  3. What time of year do you want to get married? Is there a special month for you or would you rather be dictated by the venue availability?
  4. Where do you think you'd like to have the ceremony in a perfect world? Church, registry office or special venue; town or country - home or away? Maybe brainstorm a long list and then narrow it down.Town or country?
  5. Who will be the Best Man, Maid of Honor, Ushers and Bridesmaids? Many or few? Future-in-laws or just old friends? Do brothers and sisters make the grade?
  6. Is it more important for you to have a more lavish wedding and a less expensive honeymoon or the other way round?
  7. How important are the flowers and the cake to you? Will you allocate a large proportion of your budget to either, both or none?
  8. Dress to die for or something a little more modest? Morning suit, black tie, boho or themed?
  9. How will you travel to the wedding? Walking, horseback, classic car, sports car?
  10. Will your reception be just drinks and canapes or a full-blown wedding breakfast followed by all-night party or an elite meal for the chosen few? Champagne or prosecco, beer or cocktails? Band or DJ or both?

    Raspberry and lime green wedding table

Magical wedding table by Anne Edgar Photography

Whatever your first thoughts, sleep on them before you commit yourselves to anything. And try not to be too self-centered, or assume that you know what others are thinking - above all, keep those lines of communication open!

All that really matters is that you and your fiance are about to embark on a wonderful journey together, of which the wedding day, whilst important, is only a very small part. Don't make your marriage about only one day; your future life as a married couple is what really matters.

Vivacious and stylish - red bridesmaid dresses rock!

Choosing your wedding colors or theme actually shows a lot about you and the person you are. It makes you take a good look at yourself. What is it about your personality that you want to be reflected in your wedding? Is it how you perceive yourself or how you want to be perceived? Red bridesmaid gowns are a confident choice and suggest that you might be an extrovert (or would like to be).

Extrovert or introvert?

If you are an extrovert, you'll love the fact that you are bubbly and gregarious. So if you've got an energetic, vivacious personality, you will probably choose warm, bold colors for your flowers or for your bridesmaid to wear or both!

The photograph above is taken from Joielle.com, with a piece on a blissed-out Australian bride and her equally happy girls dressed in their vibrant red bridesmaid dresses.

And what fabulous flowers - a cascade of deep reds, purple reds, pink reds all interspersed with delicate, bridal-white roses. As the bride said, it was particularly helpful choosing her bridesmaid dresses from Joielle as her four bridesmaids had differing body shapes so although she wanted all the bridesmaid dresses to be the same bold red color, she knew that she needed a variety of styles. And that's exactly what Joielle's supplier Dessy offers.

They can even supply ties (and waistcoats too) for the groom and usher in the same rich color - Claret - for a really co-ordinated look:

vibrant red bridesmaid dresses

From the left we have the beautiful bridesmaids dressed in chiffon gowns in Dessy Style 2894, 2886, 2905, 2907.

If you have a younger bridesmaid, Dessy also offers a selection of red bridesmaid dresses that are specifically designed to suit teenagers, like this stylish Junior Bridesmaid dress JR530. And how lovely to give your bridesmaids a matching friendship bracelet as a reminder of your special day?

vibrant red junior bridesmaid dresses for younger girls

And don't leave the boys out: Dessy has men's accessories that color co-ordinate perfectly with the girls. You can even give the ushers cufflinks and studs to match!

Vibrant red accessories for the groomYou'll find more red wedding inspiration here.

A Tiffany Blue Wedding Theme

If you're not a pink kind of a bride but you want a classic, delicate shade then you might like to investigate the possibilities of a Tiffany blue wedding theme.

It's an iconic colour and the beauty is that you'll find plenty of options in this shade - whether it's Tiffany blue bridesmaid dresses, shoes, accessories or even a Tiffany blue wedding cake!

Let's talk bridesmaid frocks first

Dessy's nearest shade to Tiffany blue is 'Spa', which you can see here (and here's a link to the dress).

Now, of course, the same dress probably won't suit each one of your maids. They'll be different heights and have different figures. So this might be a real opportunity mix up the bridesmaid dress styles, but have the same shade. Here's another gown in Tiffany blue (Dessy's Spa shade) that's different again.

Not forgetting the flower girls

You'll find this flowergirl design here.

What about you, the bride?

There's no rule that says you have to have white or ivory shoes peeping out from underneath your wedding gown and in fact, coloured or silver or bronze heels can give you a new look (not to mention the fact that those shades are colours that you're likely to wear again after your wedding day).

That little bit of white ribbon

Of course, to get your look to perfect, you should add a white ribbon to your splash of blue. That's easily done on wedding invitations, flower girl frocks (think of the sash), and of course around your wedding cake. We had a browse through Instagram and found some inspiration.

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10 things you might regret about your wedding day

Your wedding day is not a dress rehearsal (although if you're wise, you'll have a quick rehearsal before the day itself so everybody knows what they should be doing and where they should be).

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So it's crucial that you make the right decisions beforehand - so that after your big day you're not saying to yourself: "Oh, I wish I'd thought of that" or "I wish I hadn't decided to do that".

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What other brides have said

We talked to some recent brides and asked them if there were any things about their wedding day that they would change. Here's the list.

  1. A bride's top regret? Not having a videographer on their wedding day. You may think that photographs and phone videos from your friends will be enough but actually, having professionally shot footage for your big day is not something you'll regret (and you'll love watching the film with your future grandchildren!)
  2. Asking a friend to be a wedding photographer. You may have a friend who is a great photographer who has offered to take shots and you'll be v tempted. However, friends will at some point want to go off and join the party (and miss that key shot) whereas a professional photographer will stay the course until the very end. Also, what if the friend's photos aren't really up to scratch?
  3. Having your wedding cake made by a friend or a family member. This could be a difficult one, particularly if they ask to make your cake. Unless you're having a very homespun wedding or they are a professional cake maker, then our advice would be to graciously refuse. What if you don't like the look of the final finished cake or it's badly baked? What will you say? Maybe you could ask them to make a cake for your batchelorette party instead?
  4. Not wearing in their wedding shoes around the house before they walk down the aisle. Hello sore feet. Plan ahead. Wear those heels on the carpet around your home so that your feet get used to them.
  5. Having flowergirls that are too young. Young flowergirls are super cute, but if they get shy on the day itself and refuse to participate, or walk down the aisle behind you, then there's not much point having them really.
  6. Giving in to pressure to invite people you don't really want to come to your wedding day.
  7. Worrying too much before the big day. Nothing will go exactly as planned, you may have to just go with the flow.
  8. Not having wedding insurance. Chances are you won't need it and if you have it, then there's one less thing to worry about.
  9. Not eating enough at the wedding reception or tasting the cake. You don't want to come over all faint and you do want to see just how delicious that menu you chose was.
  10. Not quietly going off with your new married partner and taking some time alone together. Your wedding day will be all over far too quickly, so snatch a bit of time together so that you can catch up.

Wedding Insurance: Should You Get It?

So you're planning your wedding and of course, you've got a lot to think about.

But one aspect that you should give consideration to is whether to have wedding insurance and if you should include it on your budget.

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Is wedding insurance worth it?

Should you get it? And if you decide to go ahead, then how do you go about finding reputable wedding insurance companies who won't overcharge but will give you the right cover.

To help you decide, here's a bit of information that may help your decision. (And for what it's worth, we'd always say that wedding insurance is a good idea.)

What wedding insurance covers

  • It covers the most unfortunate of circumstances that can happen on your big day
  • Bad weather
  • Vendors and officiants that don't show up
  • Location of the ceremony and reception that don't carry their own insurance for the site
  • Illness and injury

Extras

  • Honeymoons cancelled due to illness or other unfortunate circumstances
  • Gowns and tuxedos due to damage or stores closing down
  • Lost or damaged gifts

What does wedding insurance cost?

Anywhere between $130 to $500. Before you decide on the wedding insurance price range, also take into account that the average wedding today costs roughly $28,000. It's a significant amount - you'd insure your car so why not your wedding day?

When you start planning your wedding you will want to consider your budget and whether this added cost is worth it the day of your wedding or if you want to risk it and hope and (pray) for the best. Shop around for the best price and do your research about what is covered and then decide if this is something that is worth investing in.

You might find this wedding insurance comparison site a good place to start looking around.

Decor idea: A forest feast reception

Decor idea: A forest feast reception

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Does a wedding reception conjure up images of large white tents and crowded dance floors to you? And maybe that's really not a look or mood you're after. You'd like a reception that's more intimate, less mainstream, more colorful.

You're not keen on inviting a load of people either - you'd rather have a select chosen few who mean a lot to you than a party for acquaintances and long-lost relatives.

In which case, step away from the crowd and create your own beautiful theme for your guests. If you hold a smaller wedding reception then you can go all out and really invest in the little details that add up to create a big picture.

When your guest list is small, you only need one or two tables to accommodate the entire party. You will be able to splurge on those rare violets from the florist, or a five course tasting from the caterer. You can spend on those small luxurious details to create a party to remember, rather than trying to cut corners because you're worried about your budget.

You could have better quality wine, champagne and some knockout cocktails. Your wedding cake can be small and perfect. You'll also find it easier to find a venue - a beautiful room in a jewel of a restaurant maybe.

But if you fancy an outdoor reception then you'll like this rustic-inspired feast in the forest, for those who are leaning more towards a quaint dinner party reception. From the vibrant moss to the bountiful blooms, this is a fairytale setting with some magical colors.

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The invitations reflect the flowers chosen ...

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Terrariums are a beautiful DIY wedding project to hang above the table to add to the rustic flair.

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Try an alternative cake that's light on the icing and plays up the "naked" trend to make it feel authentic.

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Any DIY ideas incorporating tree branches are a must in a forest setting. We love the idea of incorporating twigs into the vases at your table arrangements or as a napkin ring at the place settings!

Vendors featured in this styled shoot include: Pure Elegance Events, Daisy Saulls Photography, Bergerons Flowers, Fluffy Thoughts Cakes, The Woodend Sanctuary, Roxy Heart Vintage, Felicia Renee Beauty, Fabulous Frocks of Alexandria.

DIY wedding decor: How to make photo bunting in four easy steps

I found this great DIY wedding idea - Photo Bunting via Ruche - and immediately wanted to share it with all of you. It's an unique way to add your personal touch to your wedding reception decorations. Add pictures of you and your love to tell a story.

Bunting is a really versatile decoration. You can hang it indoors to liven up a corner, use it to drape around tables, above a doorway or to create an outdoor archway.

Which photographs will you use?

In this tutorial sepia and black and white photographs have been used - but of course it's up to you. To get the right look we suggest you have a theme to your bunting - use people's faces, or monochrome tones or a colored filter like sepia.

Of course, you don't have to just use photographs of you and your other half. You could have photographs of places that mean a lot to you or images of your family and friends. Or you could cut out pictures from magazines to use in different areas of your reception - say drinks for the bar area or cakes for a cupcake bar. Use your imagination!

You won't need any special equipment to make this bunting either, it's very straightforward. Most of it you will probably have everything at home already, although you might need to buy a glue gun (which is always a useful item to have for crafting). But if you're missing anything, a quick visit to your local craft shop will find everything you want - and inexpensively also.

In this tutorial the crafter has used cream ribbon and lace to hang the photographs onto, which gives a vintage kind of look. However, if you want a different effect then you could use lengths of colored string or ribbons in different shades.

Wedding table centerpiece ideas with the WOW factor

Want to give your guest tables the wow factor? Well obviously. And the trick that's going to do that is by having a dazzling wedding table centerpiece, as Martha Stewart, Ina Garten and just about any wedding decorator of note would agree.

Wedding table centerpiece ideas with the WOW factor

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Of course the right table linen is crucial for setting the look and dining off the right china makes food look and taste better.

But the word centerpiece is just that - it needs to be the center of attention for all the right reasons.

THIS is where to put your budget

The wedding centerpiece is the perfect example of where to put your money to get the greatest effect. To help you on your way, we scoured all of the best resources to come up with a few really spectacular ideas for your big day. Here goes...

Flowers taking center stage

Obviously flowers could look truly stunning.

However... we like the idea of forgoing the traditional vase plus arrangement for something a bit more creative. Tall centerpieces can break up the table and make talking difficult. The below overfilled flower box is rustic, stunning and just simply scrumptious. For something so over-the-top you can skip out on decorating every single table and instead do every other with smaller arrangements interspersed.

FLOWER CENTERPIECE

Super succulents

Succulents are a great choice. They are hearty (aka won't wilt or die in a number of hours), cheap and colorful. We've heard of weddings where smaller arrangements of succulents have also served as the gifts for attending guests. Get creative with mercury glass vessels (they are also cheap and can be found in bulk online and in many antique stores) and mix and match your plants for a look that is pleasantly perfect.

SUCCULENT CENTERPIECE

Go green

Many brides are ditching flowers as they can be super pricy and not so environmentally friendly (those Hawaiian orchids had to come from, you guessed it..., Hawaii). Greenery can be a superb choice for northern climates or for winter weddings. It's also hearty and can be superrrr cheap (bonus!). Make it look and expensive by having a highly stylized vision. The below wreath stack is simple, but so chic.

GREENERY CENTERPIECE

Vegetables are good

Even more reason to make vegetables one of your choices - they can be a clever, cute way to decorate for a rustic, bohemian affair. Our favorites are artichokes (awesome!), pumpkins and squash. The trick to making sure it doesn't look like you unloaded your grocery delivery on the dining room table is to mix in leafy greens, cotton (see below) or delicate flowers. It takes some guts and lots of innovation, but when it works, it WORKS it.

VEGETABLE CENTERPIECE

So think out of the box a bit with your wedding centerpieces and experiment. It's a key area that's worth spending your time and resources on.

A wedding reception idea to steal - a milkshake bar

Milk shake bar at wedding reception

Who doesn't love millkshakes? They're a great non-alcoholic option for a party and come in just about every flavor you can imagine. Chocolate, strawberry, Oreo ... a wedding reception isn't the place to stick to a diet in any case!

You don't need to have a formal sit-down dinner

Having different food options at your reception instead of a formal sit-down meal is an idea that's growing and growing in popularity. As well as a milkshake bar you could have a burger van, traditional fish and chips, Thai food, an ice cream van...

Your guests get to browse around and choose what they want to eat - and it's certainly an idea that kids will love and lets you do away with all the stress of having a formal kids' table and trying to put together children of vastly differing ages (and hoping they get along).

Elizabeth Anne Designs recently highlighted this retro rockabilly milkshake bar and I LOVE this idea. Having a milkshake bar at your reception is a guaranteed hit. Add the adorable decor and everyone's favorite toppings from sprinkles, cherries to gummy bears and you have a serious winner.

If you're having a DIY wedding then this is something you could possibly replicate yourself - although we recommend you have waiting staff in charge of the milk bar!

Here's a few highlights to look out for:

  • Traditional striped paper straws
  • Bar style seating with high stools
  • A blackboard offering all the different flavors
  • Whipped cream option (definitely not diet time here)
  • Strawberries on sticks for dipping
  • A tray of sprinkle options
  • Double the milkshake bar up as an ice cream bar too - you can use the same sprinkles for both
  • Bunting that suggests strawberry, vanilla and chocolate flavor
  • Retro stripes as a backdrop to give that vintage feel

Images by Kelli Kano Photography

Your 10 must-have wedding photographs

Wedding photography has come a long way since the days of stiff, formal, posed shots.

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Today you can choose the style of wedding photography that suits you both as a couple - reportage is increasingly popular and tells a 'story' of your day, the preparations and the unfolding of events. The whole mood is more relaxed and more YOU.

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How to capture those perfect moments

The secret is to find a wedding photographer who is your soul mate.

You need to shop around for a wedding photographer who will suit you. A photographer who will listen to what you want (not what they think) and interpret your ideas in the right ways. You also want somebody who is experienced enough not to be intrusive; who will 'melt' into the background when necessary and capture those 'spur of the moment' shots - like a flowergirl being kissed by the ringbearer or the groomsman patting his pocket to make sure the weddings rings are still there.

Remember that many photographers will be booked up well in advance at weekends during the summer, although cancellations do occur so you might be lucky.

Your wedding photographs will be a long-lasting reminder of your big day and so you really deserve to have the best you possibly can.

Discuss with your photographer beforehand the shots you want and make a plan. In the meantime, here's a handy checklist of the 10 wedding photographs you really must have. These are the classic images that you'll want in your wedding album - to look over with the grandchildren one day maybe?

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Your 10 must-have wedding photographs

  1. Bride ready to leave for ceremony
  2. Bride and her mother
  3. Groom and groomsmen
  4. Bride and her father leaving for the ceremony/walking up the aisle
  5. Groom when he first sees the bride in her dress at the ceremony
  6. Register signing
  7. Bride and groom outside ceremony venue as man and wife
  8. Bride and groom with both sets parents
  9. Bride and groom with bridesmaids and groomsmen
  10. Decorated reception venue with table plan before guests arrive

What do you think? Are there any other must-have shots you should have taken? Let us know if you think we've forgotten any.